A few weeks ago, my 11-year-old son was focused on what kind of Advent calendar he wanted. I was slightly irritated because his excitement had more to do with what hobby it would build upon, instead of the spiritual journey of Advent. I admit, however, that there was some mystery since he has transitioned away from LEGOs, and it was unclear what would take that place!
In my frustration, I interrupted his ideas and asked him to tell me what Advent was about. And I learned something.
He proceeded to offer a pretty good summary of Advent, even using some terms and concepts that impressed me. As my surprise passed, I felt good. I was proud about what we had done as parents to expose him to this critical season of faith. So much that we do can never be measured. But there are times like this when impact becomes apparent in a very real way.
I invite you to consider that this season. I invite you to welcome the “knowing not knowing” about the difference you make. Father Bryan Massingale’s remarks during the CVN REIMAGINE Conference in October have helped me do that.
Father Massingale encouraged us to plant seeds born of spiritual grounding and relationship with God. He stressed that others – not us – may need to do the harvesting. Moreover, he defined success as fidelity to our own commitments – and acting with trust and faith. And he invited us to do something very hard: give ourselves permission to not be perfect; to not know it all; to not always be able to effect the change we wish to see.
However you feel about this year and your “success,” know that the CVN staff see you sowing seeds well despite challenges. We celebrate you. We are honored to be with you, doing what we can to support your growth.
Whether I can fully recognize it or not, my son is growing in important ways. Hopefully, I have contributed to that. I recognize that many others have helped him in ways I cannot name. I count it as a great gift when I get to witness the fruits of that mysterious soil and seed. I humbly trust that my efforts in all aspects of life join with God’s creation to nurture others too.
I pray your Advent journey allows for such experience. I hope you can trust that you have empowered many – professionally and personally – and that God is working with you. May you trust in your commitments and efforts – and accept the knowing not knowing that comes with life and relationship.
May you expect surprises that affirm you, encourage you, and strengthen you.
With you in service,
PS. I’m going to use this metaphor as much as I can: CVN usually does some cultivating and harvesting in December that we have moved to January 2021. More info is in this December HCIH newsletter.